I have my stage!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We had our one-on-one mid-term reviews with our Chef and program manager last week to discuss our progress and where we want to go for our 6 month stage (internship). This was a really important decision for me. Although it’s just 6 months, it might be my only chance of working in one of the best pastry kitchens in Paris.

There were many things to consider. Should I go to a pâtisserie, hotel, or restaurant? What is my ultimate goal? Do I want to work in a small, family-run shop or a high-production, multi-kitchen facility? Is it recognized outside of France? How is the Chef? And most importantly, are their pastries amazing?

We did a bit of last minute research during a lunch break. My friend is interested in doing her stage at Arnaud Lahrer; he was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsmen of France) in 2007. His shop offers a wide collection of pastries, both traditional and new creations.

One of two shops owned by Arnaud Lahrer.

A view of his pastries from outside.

This was my lemon cream tart decorated with lemon meringue and candied lemon. Refreshing, creamy, tart lemon filling inside a crisp tart shell. Even the meringue on top tasted like lemon. Our Chef had a bite and agreed it was very good.

My friend got a chocolate & caramel mousse cake (left) and a coconut & passion fruit mousse cake (right).

We loved the coconut one. The mousse (coconut & passion fruit) is creamy and light and sits on top of a coconut/almond sponge cake, all wrapped in a delicate layer of white chocolate.

We didn't enjoy this one as much although it was highly recommended by another friend. Very strong flavours and textures of caramel layered with chocolate mousse. Overall, it was a bit too heavy and sweet. The thin wall of cake which surrounds the mousse was dry, the glaze covering the entire cake was too thick, and there was too much caramel in my opinion. The caramel was also rather thick (you can see it in the centre). Maybe this pastry was having an off day?

So I finally made up my mind and told Chef in which he responded with, “Okay, you will go to your interview at 14:30 on Tuesday.” I prepared my resume en français and went over the usual interview Q&A en français as well. I was quite worried about my French. I took it in high-school but that was 7 years ago. When I had just arrived, I couldn’t catch anything my host-mom was saying to me. Now, I can understand and respond with a few simple phrases.

So, I decided to go to a restaurant. It might not be what I want to do ultimately but I feel that it will be a very good learning experience. I heard from the last stagiaire that it’s very stressful, extremely fast-paced, and possibly 17-hour days. But, she loved it. It’s definitely going to be a test of my physical and mental strength and endurance.

But back to the interview. Yesterday, I went to Guy Savoy, a 3-Michelin star restaurant located near the Arc de Triomphe, to meet the chef pâtissier, Christian Boudard. I met him in the basement of the restaurant, where the kitchens are located. This was happening in the middle of service. He asked me my basics (age, origin, experience) and told me I’ll start in February at the ice cream and petits fours station. I was in and out of there within 10 minutes. I got a quick glimpse of the pastry kitchen and team (all boys). I’m excited!

2 Comments so far...
  • Esther
    December 8, 2011
    All boys! Sounds exciting!!!!
  • Jeff
    November 27, 2011
    OMG! I'm so excited for you! I'll have to come in the spring and dine!